Air New Zealand is just cool. Other airlines attempt to imitate them but fail miserably in their execution and just come across looking desperate to be cool. Air NZ is like that one guy everyone wants to be, the one who looks, says, does and wears everything just right. From their safety videos to their leading cabin interiors, this airline is a trendsetter.
On my recent trip to New Zealand, I got a chance to try out their domestic service from Queenstown to Auckland. Here’re the 5 things that I loved about the airlines and the 2 things that I didn’t care for.
5. The Paint Job: Simple, bold and iconic, the Air New Zealand livery screams “HEY THIS PLANE IS FROM NEW ZEALAND!!!” and you just want to book a ticket and go to Middle Earth.
4. The Vibe: From the moment I handed my bag over at check-in I found the Air NZ brand image and staff to be easygoing. Those good vibrations continued on the aircraft with their charming cabin crew strutting down a mood-lit aisle to the beat of a chill soundtrack.
3. The Guy Who’s Driving: Remember the days when pilots had a passion for carrying you around down the back and they were so excited to tell you all the cool things you were passing on the opposite side of the plane? That guy is still flying down at Air New Zealand. My captain on the Queenstown to Auckland leg made an average domestic hop feel like a national-geographic-worthy guided scenic tour… for those on the right side. Thanks to him I now know the exact point where white guys first discovered New Zealand.
2.The Homemade Booze: Don’t board an Air NZ flight and think you’re going to order a mainstream brewski or average vino. This airline is keeping it in the family and only pouring locally made craft beers and wines made 30,000 feet beneath your seat. My flight departed at happy hour, so, of course, being cool like they are, Air New Zealand offered an impressive choice of free wines and beers in economy. If that wasn’t ‘sweet as,’ as they say, it comes along with a bite size cheese tray. Hands down the best beer I’ve had in the sky.
1.The Crew: An airline is only as great as its people. Well here’s to greatness because every single crew member on my flight had a natural love for what they were doing. They were all approachable, professional and managed to make the passengers feel at ease. I was so relaxed I forget I was packed into a full economy cabin. When the gang of four aboard my flight were finished with their snack service they didn’t flee behind a curtain as you so often see, but stayed in the cabin visiting with their passengers.
Here’s what I didn’t find so great:
2. The Booking System: I wanted to throw my phone out the window when I was trying to manage my flight with Air New Zealand. The only thing it seemed they wanted from me was $10 to do anything. Considering Air New Zealand’s full-service reputation, I wasn’t expecting this. The best part was when the online check-in tried to trick me into thinking I could select my seats on the day of departure. Then comes that bloody $10 again; I had to backpedal to find the right button to complete my check-in without paying the price for selecting the seat. It then gave me the same seats that it was trying to charge me for earlier.
1. Full-Service/Low cost: A full-service airline flying low-cost planes? I get it; Air New Zealand is flying in a competitive market. A market of full-service heavyweights – like Emirates on the international side – and low-cost penny pinchers, like Jetstar on the domestic front. For their domestic A320 operation, the airline uses what I call ‘The Smoke and Mirrors Method’. This technique works by distracting the passengers’ senses with sleek leather seats, mood lighting and cool background beats. They do this hoping you don’t notice that the aircraft is configured in a single high-density configuration with 171 seats going from door to door without bulkheads at either end. You might also not notice there are only two toilets which divide down to one lavatory per 88 people on the plane. I like all the smoke and mirrors so I didn’t mind this so much, particularly since the flight was under two hours and they were cheaper than the low-cost competitors. To be honest, they’re just so cool it ends up working anyway.
More Coolness From Air New Zealand